Swimmin' Time review – Shovels & Rope deliver winning bluesy lo-fi


This South Carolina husband-and-wife duo made ripples in the overcrowded Americana scene with 2012's debut, a set of rowdy originals with a Southern gothic tinge. Swimmin' Time follows on winningly, pitching drawling vocal harmonies against a bluesy, lo-fi backdrop of guitar, piano and drums; a rawer version of the now defunct Civil Wars. The songs, however, are finely spun, whether addressing burnt-out romance (Bridge on Fire) or evoking creepy villains ("I'm a lunatic looking through a keyhole," boasts the narrator of Evil). An aquatic theme embraces floods, fishing and even a 1963 submarine disaster, veering between exuberance and tragedy. Tough, visceral stuff.


Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

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